Whose Festival is it Anyway? A Cockburn Conference

Saturday 30th January 2021

One year on from the Cockburn Association’s highly successful City for Sale? The Commodification of Edinburgh’s Public Spaces event, the global pandemic has rocked the City’s Festivals and the country’s tourism and hospitality sectors.

It has highlighted serious issues of economic resilience and public well-being. It has caused many to question the wisdom of growth-centric policies. It has also created a moment for the city, its businesses and its residents to pause and reflect on how Edinburgh’s many Festivals should operate in a post-COVID world.

With a long history of providing a public forum for such discussions about the city, the Association has arranged this Cockburn Conference to explore these issues in greater detail.

Building on our recent “Our Unique City” manifesto, a living document that outlines our vision for life in Edinburgh in a post-COVID era, and Professor Cliff Hague’s 2020 Cockburn Annual Lecture in which he explored the roots of, and routes to, Edinburgh’s current Festivals offering, Conference panelists will discuss topics including:

  • Some reflections on how we arrived here.
  • The impact of festivals and festivalisation on the city
  • The capacity limits Edinburgh has for Festivals and tourism and the tensions that have arisen when these limits have been tested.
  • The implications of the global pandemic, digital technologies and the climate challenge for future Festivals.

Tickets to the event are free to but donations are certainly welcome! Only ONE ticket per screen, per event is required to be booked, the Zoom link will be sent to you via Eventbrite closer to day.

Conference Programme Timings

Session 1: Festivals Past (11am-12.30pm)


Session 2: Festivals Future (1pm-2.30pm)

Plenary Session: Reflections on the day (2.30pm-3pm)

Book Here